Crawley Town head coach Dermot Drummy said they got what they deserved as he labelled a ‘poor’ performance against Cambridge United.
The 3-1 defeat saw Reds drop to 13th in League Two, while The U’s fifth win of the season lifted them out of the bottom three.
It looked very different in the opening stages when James Collins fired the hosts into an early lead, but goals from Greg Taylor and Uche Ikpeazu put The U’s 2-1 ahead at half-time.
Luke Berry added a stunning free-kick early in the second half as the visitors easily closed out the game.
Drummy said: “I don’t think physically we had enough to get back into the game.
“The first goal has to be cleared, but with Joe McNerney out at the moment and with Mark Connolly now going off we have young centre-halves in there.
“It’s tough to be learning the game and if you give something away and they score it’s a tough learning curve, but on the flip side, we need to keep clean sheets again.
“I don’t think it’s down to luck. Where we were playing really well earlier in the season, the back four were resolute, that has got a bit rocky now and the experience had gone out of the back four.
“We have to be able to clear a ball, that’s not bad luck, that’s bad play. You have to learn from that.
“I don’t think we created enough chances in the second half, we had a late flurry, but our football was poor.
“We have to fight and I think today they were stronger physically and mentally. While we huffed and puffed, I don’t think our quality was there.
“We have to put this game to bed as we have to recover now and we have a really tough game against Bristol Rovers.”
Drummy also called on both players and fans to stick together after Reds’ runs of games without a win extended to seven matches in all competitions.
He added: “The boys have to keep together, they are in the dressing room and a little bit tense. I can hear some of the fans getting a little tense.
“The bottom line is if you don’t stick together it falls apart. It’s a call of we are where we are with Crawley we are trying to be better and play better football.
“Sometimes it doesn’t work and when that happens, you have to brace enough to look at it, restructure, but not lose sight of where you want to go.”